Kerry Has Delegates for Nomination
By GENARO C. ARMAS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - John Kerry locked up the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday, eclipsing the magic number of delegates needed to become President Bush's chief rival in the general election, according to an Associated Press tally.
The four-term Massachusetts senator reached the 2,162 delegate mark Saturday afternoon, the AP count found, just as Democrats in Kansas headed to party caucuses.
Amassing the required number of delegates was a mere formality for Kerry after his last main Democratic rival, John Edwards, dropped out of the campaign following a disastrous showing on March 2, when 10 states held "Super Tuesday" contests.
Kerry hit the magic number early Saturday afternoon thanks to support from "superdelegates" — people who get a vote at the Democratic convention in Boston by virtue of their influence within the party.
Kerry had 2,000 delegates following his commanding wins in primaries in four Southern states last week. He picked up the last 162 needed through superdelegate endorsements or pledges to vote for him at the convention.
The AP count is based on state and party rules, analysis of election results, and interviews with superdelegates. Superdelegate support was counted only if someone could be contacted, either personally or through a representative.